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Massospondylus embryos (free pdf) and French dino find in English



From: Ben Creisler
bh480@scn.org


There have been lots of media stories lately about the 
Massospondylus embryo fossils. Just in case this link has 
not been posted yet, the Journal of Vertebrate 
Paleontology is offering a free pdf of the new paper on 
Massospondylus embryos:

http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content=g929
711789

Robert R. Reisz; David C. Evans; Hans-Dieter Sues; Diane 
Scott, 2010. 
Embryonic skeletal anatomy of the sauropodomorph dinosaur 
Massospondylus from the Lower Jurassic of South Africa .
Two embryonic skeletons preserved inside thin-shelled 
eggs of a partially preserved clutch from the Upper 
Elliot Formation (Lower Jurassic) of South Africa have 
been attributed to the sauropodomorph dinosaur 
Massospondylus carinatus. A virtually complete skeleton 
is exposed in right lateral view, with the slightly 
telescoped skull and several cervical vertebrae extending 
beyond the eggshell. A second, partial skeleton has a 
skull preserved in dorsal view. The embryos have 
proportionately very large skulls, with the broad skull 
table formed by wide parietals and frontals. The wide 
posterolateral wing of the frontal separates the 
postorbital from contact with the parietal. The embryos 
have short rather than elongated cervical vertebrae, with 
tall rather than low neural arches. The large forelimbs 
are only slightly shorter than the hind limbs, which 
suggests an obligatory quadrupedal posture for the 
hatchlings. This pattern may represent an ontogenetic 
constraint related to the large size of the head and 
horizontally oriented neck. Similarities between the 
embryonic and post-hatchling specimens include the 
slenderness of the lower jaw and slight ventral curvature 
of the symphyseal portion of the dentary, the large 
supraorbital process of the prefrontal, and the tall 
antorbital and infratemporal fenestrae. There are 10 
cervical, 14 dorsal, and three sacral vertebrae. The 
large distal claw-bearing phalanx of manual digit 1 is 
longer than any other phalangeal element of either manus 
or pes. The embryos of Massospondylus carinatus represent 
the oldest dinosaurian embryos known to date.  
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Also, there were some DML postings some time back about 
new dinosaur finds in the Charente region of  France, 
including the largest sauropod femur found in Europe. All 
the articles were in French, however. Now there is a 
summary of these finds in English at:
http://www.examiner.com/paelenotology-science-news-in-
national/large-dinosaur-fossil-deposits-found-charente-
region-of-france